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Fact sheet number: FS-2003-04-42-MSFC
Release date: 04/03

International Space Station Expedition Seven:
Science Operations Overview

Photo description: International Space Station in December, 2002
International Space Station, photographed by a crewmember on board Space Shuttle Endeavour on December 2, 2002 (NASA/JSC)

Expedition Seven on the International Space Station is scheduled to begin in April 2003 when the station's seventh crew arrives at the station aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft. It is designated the 6S mission for the sixth Soyuz to visit the Space Station. A crew of two will replace three Expedition Six crewmembers, who are scheduled to return home in May on another Soyuz spacecraft (5S), currently docked at the Station. During Expedition Seven, two Russian Progress cargo flights, called 11P and 12P for the 11th and 12th Progress vehicles, are scheduled to dock with the Station. The Progress resupply ships will transport supplies to the Station and also may carry scientific equipment. Another Soyuz vehicle - 7S - is scheduled to dock with the Station in October.

Most of the research complement for Expedition Seven will be carried out with scientific research facilities and samples already on board the Space Station. Additional experiments are being evaluated and prepared to take advantage of the very limited cargo space on the Soyuz or Progress vehicles. The research agenda for the expedition remains flexible. A few perishable samples, such as urine samples and crystals, may be returned to Earth on the Soyuz, but most equipment and samples can remain on board the Station without detrimental effects to the science.

The two-member crew of Expedition Seven is scheduled to devote more than 200 hours to research, while continuing to maintain the orbiting research complex. Station science also will be conducted by the ever-present additional crewmember - the team of controllers and scientists on the ground who will continue to plan, monitor and operate experiments from control centers around the country.

Expedition Seven crewmembers are Commander Yuri Malenchenko and Edward (Ed) Tsang Lu, who will serve as both the NASA International Space Station Science Officer and the Flight Engineer. They will continue maintaining the Space Station and work with science teams on the ground to operate experiments and collect data.

On Earth, a new cadre of controllers for Expedition Seven will replace their Expedition Six colleagues in the International Space Station's Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Controllers work in three shifts around the clock, seven days a week in NASA's Payload Operations Center -- the world's primary science command post for the Space Station. Its mission is to link Earthbound researchers around the world with their experiments and the crew aboard the Space Station.

Experiments using on-board resources

Many experiments from earlier Expeditions remain aboard the Space Station and will continue to benefit from the long-term research platform provided by the orbiting laboratory. These experiments include:

Photo description: London night lights, as observed during Expedition Six as part of the Crew Earth Observations experiment
This image of London night lights was acquired by Space Station Expedition Six crew members on February 4
, 2003 as part of the Crew Earth Observations experiment. (NASA/JSC)

Crew Earth Observations (CEO) takes advantage of the crew in space to observe and photograph natural and man-made changes on Earth.

Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (EarthKAM), an education experiment, allows students to program a digital camera aboard the Station to take pictures of a variety of geographical targets for study in the classroom. An observation session is scheduled for Expedition Seven.

Crew Interactions will identify and characterize interpersonal and cultural factors that may affect crew and ground support personnel performance during Space Station missions. This experiment has been conducted on several other Space Station expeditions and was performed during five joint NASA/Russian Mir Space Station missions. Crewmembers answer a questionnaire and send data back to Earth using the Station's Human Research Facility.

Extra Vehicular Activity Radiation Monitoring (EVARM) includes a set of three radiation sensors placed at various locations inside the Destiny lab to help determine radiation levels. On past expeditions, these sensors have been worn in the pockets of U.S. EVA suits during space walks outside the Station. This radiation research, along with other Station radiation studies, will help scientists mitigate this exposure.

Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions (InSPACE) seeks to obtain basic data on magnetorheological fluids -- a new class of "smart materials" that can be used to improve or develop new brake systems, seat suspensions, robotics, clutches, airplane landing gear, and vibration damper systems. The five samples for this experiment onboard the Station can be processed inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox facility, an enclosed work area that allows the crew to work safely with these fluids.

Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation (PFMI), another experiment performed in the Microgravity Science Glovebox, will melt samples of transparent modeling material to study how bubbles can be trapped in metal or crystal samples during space processing. Eliminating these bubbles could contribute to development of stronger materials. Several samples were processed inside the glovebox during Expedition Five and several more can be processing during Expedition Seven. These samples can be processed several times, allowing investigators to study different phenomena.

Photo description: MISSE experiment attached to the Space Station
MISSE, a square suit-cased-size container filled with hundreds of materials samples, has been attached to the outside of the Space Station since late 2001. (NASA/JSC)

Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) is a suitcase-sized experiment attached to the outside of the Space Station. It exposes hundreds of potential space construction materials to the environment. The samples will be returned to Earth for study during a later expedition. Investigators will use the resulting data to design stronger, more durable spacecraft.

Protein Crystal Growth Single-locker Thermal Enclosure System (PCG-STES) will continue to process crystals that began growing during Expedition Six. This experiment was also flown on Expeditions Two, Four and Five. The facility provides a temperature-controlled environment for growing high-quality protein crystals of selected proteins in microgravity for later analyses on the ground to determine the proteins' molecular structure. Research may contribute to advances in medicine, agriculture and other fields.

Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) and Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System (MAMS) sensors measure vibrations caused by crew, equipment and other sources that could disturb microgravity experiments.

Pre- and Post-flight Human Physiology

Four continuing experiments will use pre- and post-flight measurements of Expedition Seven crewmembers to study changes in the body caused by exposure to the microgravity environment.

Promoting Sensorimotor Response to Generalizability: A Countermeasure to Mitigate Locomotor Dysfunction After Long-duration Spaceflight (Mobility) studies changes in posture and gait after long-duration spaceflight.

Space Flight-Induced Reactivation of Latent Epstein-Barr Virus (Epstein-Barr) performs tests to study changes in human immune function.

Subregional Bone uses tests to study changes in bone density caused by long-duration spaceflight.

Experiments Requiring Transport by Soyuz or Progress Vehicles Expedition Seven may include these experiments:

Cell Biotechnology Operations Support Systems (CBOSS) is used to grow three-dimensional tissue that retains the form and function of natural living tissue, a capability that could hold insights in studying human diseases, including various types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and AIDS. These types of cellular experiments were conducted during Expeditions Three and Four. A critical step in performing these cell experiments involves mixing fluids. To improve future experiments, a fluid mixing test will be conducted using the CBOSS fluid samples transported to the Station.

Two new fundamental space biology experiments may be transported to the Station, if space is available on a Progress. These experiments can operate in standalone mode on battery power, or if space is available, may be transported in the Advanced Separation (ADSEP) payload facility. Both of these experiments will contain dormant living organisms that will be activated at various times on-orbit. Most will be preserved before they are returned to Earth.

C. elegans Model Specimen in Space (CEMMS) uses a small cassette from the ADSEP to hold 1-2 millimeter long round worms that are very common as model specimens for medical research. These worms have a short life span, which makes it possible for scientists to study multiple generations during a single space mission.

S. pneumoniae Expression of Genes in Space (SPEGIS) uses two ADSEP cassettes to contain common bacteria often found in healthy humans. Scientists will observe how this organism changes in space and use the information to develop more effective treatments for infections.

Education Payload Operations (EPO) includes three educational activities: Wright Flyer, Paper Plane Activity and Pu'ili Hawaiian Instrument.

Experiments Requiring Upmass

Photo description: The micrograph shows calcium oxalate crystals in urine. These small crystals can develop to form renal stones.
The micrograph shows calcium oxalate crystals in urine. These small crystals can develop to form renal stones. (NASA)

Renal Stone collects urine samples from the crew and tests a possible countermeasure for preventing kidney stone formation. This experiment can continue only if resupply hardware is able to be launched.

Zeolite Crystal Growth Furnace (ZCG) is a commercial furnace used to grow larger zeolite crystals in microgravity. The furnace remains onboard, and new samples may be delivered to the Station on a Russian Progress or Soyuz. These crystals have possible applications in chemical processes, electronic device manufacturing and other uses on Earth.

Experiments Not Requiring Upmass

Earth Science Toward Exploration Research (ESTER), an Earth observation experiment, records images revealing surface changes on Earth, with particular emphasis on ephemeral events, such as hurricanes, plankton blooms and volcanic eruptions. This experiment uses on-board hand-held cameras and the Station's high-quality optical window. Digital images are sent to scientists on the ground.

Destiny Laboratory Facilities

Several research facilities are in place aboard the Station to support Expedition Seven science investigations.

The Human Research Facility is designed to house and support a variety of life sciences experiments. It includes equipment for lung function tests, ultrasound to image the heart and many other types of computers and medical equipment.

The Microgravity Science Glovebox is the other major dedicated science facility inside Destiny. It has a large front window and built-in gloves to provide a sealed environment for conducting science and technology experiments. The Glovebox is particularly suited for handling hazardous materials when a crew is present. The facility's hardware is working and is available for Expedition Seven operations.

The Destiny lab also is outfitted with five EXPRESS Racks. EXPRESS, or Expedite the Processing of Experiments to the Space Station racks are standard payload racks designed to provide experiments with a variety of utilities such as power, data, cooling, fluids and gasses. The racks support payloads in a several disciplines, including biology, chemistry, physics, ecology and medicines. The racks stay in orbit, while experiments are changed as needed. EXPRESS Rack 2 and EXPRESS Rack 3 are equipped with the Active Rack Isolation System (ARIS) for countering minute vibrations from crew movement or operating equipment that could disturb delicate experiments.

On the Internet

For fact sheets, imagery and more on Expedition Seven experiments and payload operations, visit the Science Operations Web site at:

Steve Roy
Public Affairs Office
(256) 544-0034

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